Glass

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by David Vickery, Sep 19, 2002.

  1. David Vickery

    David Vickery Member

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    Why do we put photographs behind glass when we put them on display? Do we really need to do this? I get tired of walking into a gallery or museum and see nothing but reflections and a hint of something on paper. Do ya'll think that we really need glass in front of the photo or is this just a strange habit that we (or the industry) have gotten into. [​IMG]
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Like you I would rather see the image without interference, but just imagine, you have spent many hours and lots of mula making your gelatin/pt/cyanotype....(fill in what rocks you). YOur work gets to the gallerie/museum/show....and you see all these people touching, licking, putting their greasy nose on the print.... [​IMG] I think this is the reason for the use of glass, not really and aesthetic reason but more of an insurance dont mess with the work issue.
     
  3. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    David,

    first of all, glass is a good protection. A print without glass will be more exposed to dust (and thus your wife's duster), smoke, air pollution, etc. If you do not want to view your prints behind glass, I would suggest using a portfolio box instead
     
  4. jmcd

    jmcd Member

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    Glass is a great protector for prints hung on the wall, but does not show the prints at their best, I think. I use it, but consider it a compromise. I like to see the surface of the print, but glass gets in the way. Of course, some glass is better than others. I would like to hear people's experience with different glass types.

    I worked with a photographer who had a great method of display. In addition to prints behind glass up on the wall, he had a leather bound book with handmade pages. Each page had a tipped in photograph. When he handed the book to a viewer, he asked them to wear a pair of white gloves, which kept off fingerprints, and also conveyed that he was letting them see something he cared about preserving. Viewing prints this way made for an intimate experience.

    I have heard that Wynn Bullock and guests sat in a darkened room, before an easel holding one mounted print at a time, which was illuminated by spotlight.

    Just two ideas.
     
  5. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I've heard that some acrylics are more clear than glass. has anyone tried this? A lot of high end aquariums use acrylic because it give the appearance that there is nothing between you and the water. I wonder how it would work for displaying photo prints. Probably to prone to glare.
     
  6. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Acrylic is better than glass in two main areas -

    1) Weight. Acrylic is VERY light. This is the main reason they use it in aquariums now. Especially the BIG ones.

    2) Visibility. Acrylic is clearer than glass when you get to certain thicknesses and when you compare costs, clear acrylic is cheaper than specialty glass designed for clarity.

    The problem is it scratches like CRAZY, and when it comes to using it for framing, glass is the winner because there the glass is so thin that you don't get any distortion. Weight isn't an issue either.
     
  7. William Levitt

    William Levitt Member

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    These days there are several types of "museum" glass available that cut way down on reflection but are still clear, in fact, I think one of the manufacturers is called Everclear.

    The results are impressive and the price tag is equally impressive. Me? I stick with regular glass, atleast until I can afford something better...
     
  8. David Vickery

    David Vickery Member

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    Okay, so the only reason that we use glass is for protection, Right? So why don't museums put glass in front of those old, one-of-a-kind, priceless paintings? Why don't art galleries put glass in front of those expensive, original oil (or water color, pastel, etc.) paintings. Why is it that the photographic community is the only part of the Art World that regularly puts glass in front of our work? Are photographs that much more delicate than a painting in pastel or watercolor?
     
  9. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Are photographs that much more delicate than a painting in pastel or watercolor?

    Yes, the sistine chapel has lasted for hundreds of years, watercolors are exhibited under glass.The paintings you mention as you state are not under glass, but look around and see how many guards are there to make sure you dont touch it. I have no idea the effect fingerprint oils have on a hardened oil paint, but I know the do have a very harmful effect on prints.
    We have had paintings that are perfect after being flooded, stained with water, etc, etc. try that with a print! In a word...yes they are more fragile than the objects of art you mention.
     
  10. EUGENE

    EUGENE Member

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    A few years ago, my wife and I moved across the country from Arizona to Texas. We packed everything very carefully, and the move was done by professional movers. When we un-packed our photographs, we were devistated to find several one- of -a- kind prints, that were framed and matted under glass, smashed. The broken glass had cut into the surface of the prints. They were ruined beyond repair. Since that time , I have framed all of my prints with acrylic (Plexiglass), instead of glass. This plastic material is also available with built-in UV protection, at a slight additional cost. It was an expensive lesson for me to learn.
     
  11. jimbecia@aol.com

    jimbecia@aol.com Member

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    As a framer, I can answer a few of the questions here. Glass is used for protection. It has a 47% blockage rate against UV light which is not a lot, but better thatn nothing. It also will deep a certain amount of dirt, grease, etc. off of the image. Regular glass allows about 92% transmission of light through it and regular glass has a slight greenish tint to it unless it is iron free. Acrylic is certainly clearer and has a bit better UV protection, but the downside is it's easier to scratch and does eventually yellow over time. There are some great antireflective glasses that go nearly invisible. Denglas and Image Perfect are two of the trade names. Please note that they are not considered museum glass unless they have about 99% UV blockage. I work with IP glass mainly. It does a great job of eliminating relfection. However, it's tough to handle. Up until recently, you had to clean it with an alcohol based cleaner and the surface is a little softer than regular glass. Then there's the price difference. A case of glass is about $40 where IP will cost at least $300 for the same case. It doesn't come cheap! Now, this is not the same as non glare glass which is more heavily etched to reduce that glare and basically softens the image. Hope this helps. Jim
     
  12. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    David -

    Paintings are very different from photographs. In fact some need to breathe. There are paintings that are literally hundreds of years old that have not full dried yet. They still give off various vapors. Better to bisperse them than trap them. They are also much hardier. Oil paints and watercolors don't hold a fingerprint smudge the way glossy paper does. Even then you'll notice many paintings behind those velvet ropes.
     
  13. carlweese

    carlweese Member

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    Pastels and watercolors are nearly always displayed behind glazing. Oil paintings generally have a varnished surface that is much less delicate and so are usually displayed without glass. There are exceptions: I recently saw a number of Francis Bacon paintings which were framed under acrylic (huge pieces of acrylic because they were really big paintings). It was obvious that the canvases were not varnished, an esthetic decision on Bacon's part, and so needed the protection of glazing.

    Photographs do lose a lot when the surface is hidden by glass or acrylic, but the photographic surface is too vulnerable to leave exposed to an audience that isn't knowledgable and trustworthy.
     
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  15. reimerron

    reimerron Member

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    I understand that a photographer in the Twin Cities (MN) is marketing prints done by an process which transfers a print emulsion to an embossed surface that is very durable and requires no glass. I am looking for more information on this process for application in my fine art print sales. The process may have some digital component. If anyone knows anything about this process, please respond. Thanks
     
  16. E-RPM SOFT COM

    E-RPM SOFT COM Member

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    Like you I would rather see the image without interference, but just imagine, you have spent many hours and lots of mula making your gelatin/pt/cyanotype....(fill in what rocks you). YOur work gets to the gallerie/museum/show....and you see all these people touching, licking, putting their greasy nose on the print....
     
  17. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I use museum quality glass for my prints.

    Steve
     
  18. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    I have information about the pro's and con's of using glass and acrylic for picture framing here: glass vs acrylic
    In this case, I am referring to framing grade acrylic. Acrylic is material type, and names such as Plexiglas and Acrylite are brand names.

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Besides nothing beats a good piece of glass! :wink:

    Steve
     
  20. Shadow Images

    Shadow Images Member

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    Use of reg glass is what cause the image to be hard to see. I always use den/museum glass. A lot of museum are now putting everything under plexiglass boxes for protection from environmental concerns. Packing art is not something I would leave to movers. I have sent art all over the world without incident. If you have valuable art have a professional art mover package it, cheap insurance.
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What he said.

    Steve
     
  22. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Works on paper should always be behind glass unless varnished. You might try "GOLDEN Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish w/UVLS" if you want to remove the ridge glass/acrylic barrier from your work. http://www.goldenpaints.com/products/varnish/msa.php

    Eli

    Note: Take a look here for a number of useful links, including how to make paper mounts for photographs, etc.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2009
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The first link describes the product and its uses. Protecting chemically based photographs is not listed although ink jet prints are.

    If they are not recommending their own product to protect photographs, I will not volunteer to try it myself. However you are free to try the product, if so please PM me at 50 years and at 100 years.

    Steve
     
  24. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Steve, I posted this for those of us that might not have know about these products/links in the first place. What you do with that information is entirely up to you.

    Personally, as an artist and a photographer, I have been concerned with issues of permanency/light-fastness/archival properties for more than 30 years and it is a continuing issue with new materials and methods of doing things constantly evolving.

    I don't try everything I read about, nor do I jump on just any product that comes to my attention, but I do like to know about various materials and techniques that might have a place in some medium I happen to work in or might in the future. I'm sure that there are others here that feel likewise. It is in that spirit that I posted these links.

    An example might be someone making carbon prints with ink-jet papers whom might have a need for the MSA varnish for works that are displayed without the protection of a glass/acrylic barrier.

    Eli
     
  25. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I stopped using any type of glazing for my carbon transfer images. Is it a gamble, maybe, but I can not and will not cover up my work with glazing. My art, my decision.

    Jim
     
  26. Jenniferk

    Jenniferk Member

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    Glass is rarely applied in front of oil paintings because of the nature of the beast - canvas is meant to breath and is best left open. Actually, some museums do put glass in front of rare master pieces - The Met kept Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' under glass for protection.

    In the case of photography - glass serves to protect the image and is a traditional framing method. There are other options out there that give you a better presentation.

    Mounting your images to a durable substrate and applying a UV lamination over top is a great look. Many Chelsea galleries are doing this and then framing with a thin floater frame, no glass or plexi. The UV lam allows you to clean the surface of your image while deferring the reflective components that glass and plexi provide.

    L2 Fine Art Mounting and Framing is a reputable custom mounting and framing company that serves the fine art photography market - they do great work at a fair price and a timely turnaround - they also crate and ship all over the world.

    L2mounting.com

    718-947-3400 x426